We work as ecotourism guides (as well as biologist and boat captain) often on the BC Coast, but also as far ranging as the Arctic and Antarctic. We have an insatiable curiousity for the planet; all its hidden gems and what makes them tick. That and our love of sailing is what inspired us to sail around the Pacific in Narama, our tough and pretty little sailboat.
Arriving across the shallow bar with a moderate swell, our entrance was only made dramatic when our final approach coincided with a dozen bottlenose dolphins and a panga full of tourists, both circling us. What a vast difference from the desert of Baja; now we felt the heat and humidity and had a shoreline completely lined in palms. We anchored in the mangrove fringed estuary on the side of town and felt right at home once our anchor hit the muddy bottom. We had heard from several sources that this was a “birdy place” and were not disappointed. After a week of wandering various trails and side roads visiting disused shrimp ponds, the lighthouse, an old fort on the hill and a village surrounded by mango plantations, we saw lots of new and interesting species.
We celebrated our 9th Wedding Anniversary by splurging on a panga ride for two. Instead of taking the usual trip to a natural spring and popular swimming hole, we had Chencho, our knowledgeable guide and driver take us up stream to an open wetland and bird sanctuary. Whistling ducks in the thousands and Wood Storks on the nest with their awkward-looking chicks were among the highlights, along with fat American Crocodiles sunning themselves on the bank.
Black-bellied Whistling Ducks
Some lovely friends, Rafael and his mother Josefina, had us over for lunch of exquisite smoked Corvina and a Yellowtail stew. Just when we thought it was nearly time to leave San Blas with its bustling central square, Josefina told us we had to stay for the “International Migratory Bird Festival” here in town. So last night we took in the opening ceremonies (lots of speeches) which finished with a colourful folkdance performance.